Influence of the English Language


I have always found it most interesting and entertaining to listen to a person speak foreign language. Whether it is directly aimed toward me or listening to it in a movie, it gives me the same appeal. Of course there are certain languages that stick out more such as French, and Spanish mainly because it is around us more often and obviously spoken more widely. I was given the opportunity to study a foreign language in high school and chose French. I took French all four years of high school and loved it. English has been around for a long time, but other languages in my mind have influenced the English language of today, including French. In saying this I also believe English has had the same affect on many other foreign languages as well.

Since English has been around for so long, it is hard to imagine it being influenced by other languages. After all, English is the most spoken language worldwide, how could it be influenced? In believing that, it would mean that the language that inspired English is less used and accepted. In some ways that does not add up and make sense. Nonetheless, English has been influenced because English was definitely not the first spoken language ever. Therefore, it had to have been influenced and developed from some other language or languages, mainly German.
What many people do not realize is that how much the French language has influenced English. One way is being some of the words we use in the English language. It has been estimated that around one third of the English language has been directly or indirectly inspired by French. Words such as finale and genre come from French. We use French as names of food, such as filet mignon and au jus, French words that characterize people such as fiancé and blonde, and use French words to express feelings or ideas such as bon voyage and déjà vu. These are examples of direct connection to French because the English language did not change the words or spelling at all. French can also be seen in English grammar. French puts the noun before the adjective, whereas most English is the opposite by using the adjective before the noun, but there are exceptions, which stay with the French way. For example, have you ever looked at a box of cigarettes on the side where the warning is, it is printed surgeon general. Clearly the noun surgeon is put before general. It is obvious that French has had an influence on English and is still is used in every without people even knowing it.
When studying French, it was helpful at times to know English fluently. Knowing the meaning of words, and what part of speech the word is makes all the differences in the world, for French rules although different than English rules in many ways, still uses the parts of speech to classify words. Without being able to separate adjectives from nouns, you would not be able to even begin forming sentences. It is also very helpful to know English when learning French, or any other foreign language for that matter, to have the English language as a comparing tool. It was much easier for me to comprehend and remember French because the English word stimulated my thinking. It also helped me understand what the French words stood for and described when comparing it to English.
Going off that last paragraph and thought, knowing English and trying to learn French has had its problems as well, mainly in the speech area. It is one thing to learn French or another language and be able to write it and a whole other issue in speaking it. Speaking it comes with its problems because of a couple main reasons. First of all it is very hard to learn pronunciation and put it to use properly. I have trouble pronouncing some words because my tongue cannot work properly because of the lack of training. You look at foreigners learning the English language and they have the same problem. Secondly, it is extremely hard to comprehend spoken language if you are not around it and using it frequently. This stems off to the fact that my first true and full time exposure to French did not come till high school. I was 15 years old, and had English definitely carved into my brain by then. Science has shown that the best learning age is during grade school. By high school my brain had less ability to learn and maintain knowledge. It was much harder to break habits and rules applying to English that had been taught all my life.
In conclusion, taking French and learning that language was an experience I would never regret and will always look back on and enjoy. It gave me a small opportunity to learn another way of life in a sense, and let me be a part of it. The four years I took French, I learned so much, but have forgotten so much since because of the lack of use. As you can see through the previous examples that English is very much influenced by other languages, including French in many ways. It has been estimated that the average person throughout his or her life who only learns and knows English will know 15,000 French words as well just by speaking English. Now how can you say that English has no influence?

Tags
Related Essays English